An article has been circulating recently entitled Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, in which a lady who has spent a lot of time with people during their last few days of life, recounts some of the most common regrets that people have on their deathbeds.
(The article has been reproduced countless times, but here is a link to the original post – Regrets of the Dying. The author, Bronnie Ware, has also written a book, entitled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing)
It’s a great article, and it does get you thinking about how you are living your life, and what regrets you might have if you found yourself at the end of it.
But I think it can be useful to switch things around and see them from a different perspective, so in the style of Mock the Week, here are my Top 5 Unlikely Deathbed Regrets.
1. I wish I had worked harder at doing things I hate.
I wish I had spent more time in an office cubicle doing mindless work for a faceless corporation, numbing my senses and making rich people richer.
And think of all the opportunities for unpaid overtime that I missed out on. If I’d just let my boss see me staying late a bit more often, I might have managed to claw my way up one more rung of the corporate ladder. Maybe one day I could have had my own office!
Instead I wasted my life working on projects I was passionate about and spending time with my family.
2. I wish I had taken less opportunities.
Life presented me with all manner of opportunities, and for some reason I can’t explain, I took most of them, and they inevitably led to interesting and varied experiences.
If I had only listened to my doubts and fears, and rejected more opportunities, I could have had a nice dull life, stayed safely in my comfort zone, and experienced much less.
I really wish I had been a ‘no man’, saying NO to every opportunity that presented itself, so that my life would have been much more predictable and boring.
3. I wish I had worried more.
When I think of all the things I neglected to worry about, I really wonder how I even lived this long.
I wish I had worried constantly about what people thought of me, how much I weighed, whether I would still have my job next month, the list goes on.
There were countless calamities that never even happened, and I didn’t have the common courtesy to worry incessantly about them. Imagine how much unnecessary stress I could have put myself through if I had only figured out the worst case scenario in any given situation, and worried myself sick about it.
4. I wish I had spent less time with loved ones.
I can’t believe all the time I wasted with my family and friends over the years. Time that would have been better spent on my own at the office, or in bed nursing a hangover.
When I watched my son take his first steps in our back garden, I could have been happily locked away in the bedroom, playing on my X-box.
And all those happy family Christmases. What a waste of time, travelling across the country to spend time with loved ones, when I could have stayed home on my own watching TV. I’ll never get that time back.
5. I wish I’d been more of a dick.
Looking back, I was definitely too nice, and I wish I had made more of an effort to make people’s lives miserable.
I didn’t upset people nearly as much as I could have. I was always there when people needed me, and I missed countless opportunities to make people feel like dirt. I don’t think I ever intentionally made anyone cry. Not once!
I really wish I had held more grudges too. I remember a time when a good friend did something that upset me, and I just forgave him, just like that! I could have stopped talking to him and started a lifelong feud. With any luck I might still not have been talking to him now! I really feel like I missed out on a lot of bitterness and resentment because I was too forgiving.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
What Would You Regret?
Do any of the above regrets sound familiar? Do they make you feel uncomfortable at all?
Could it be that you worry too much about things that will probably never happen? Or do you need to spend more time with your family? Or are you just a bit of a dick sometimes?
Make sure you’re doing whatever you can to avoid having any regrets. If you need a little help, try reading Jenny Nichols’ 40 Ways to Live Life Without Regrets on TinyBuddha.
If you have any of your own ‘unlikely deathbed regrets’ I’d love you to share them in the comments below. You can even do your own top 5.